A Guide to Airports in Dubai | ExpatWoman.com

A Guide to Airports in Dubai

Here's all the information you need to know about airports, airlines, and transport to and from all across the Emirate.

Posted on

18 September 2013

Last updated on 12 March 2020
A Guide to Airports in Dubai

This is your complete guide to Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport.

In the decades following its opening in 1960, Dubai International (DXB) Airport has since developed into one of the busiest hubs in the world. The massive airport has also morphed into a destination for dining, retail, and leisure, offering complimentary showers for passengers, massages for select seat classes, zen gardens, and more.

Dubai International Airport is ranked as the world's busiest airport in terms of international passengers according to Airports Council International’s latest figures. The airport serves more than 125 airlines flying to more than 284 destinations (pax + cargo) across six continents.

Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC), is Dubai’s second airport and opened its doors to passengers on June 27, 2010.

If you're travelling soon, here's what you should know about the Emirate's two airports before you go:

Dubai International Airport

There are three dedicated terminals at Dubai International Airport:

Terminal 1 has five check-in areas (A-E) with 189 counters and can handle 20 million passengers per year.

A Guide to Airports in Dubai

Terminal 2 has 36 check-in counters, two for oversized baggage, and it was initially built to alleviate passenger congestion at T1. This terminal caters to scheduled, charter, and special interest flights during special occasions. It is also host to Dubai's budget airline carrier, FlyDubai. Terminal 2 can currently handle up to 5 million passengers per year.

Terminal 3 (or Dubai International Emirates Terminal 3) is dedicated to Emirates Airline and has 15 first and 15 business class dedicated counters as well as 126 economy class check-in counters. When concourse A, dedicated for the Emirates Airline A380 plane, opened in January 2013 the passenger capacity increased to 75 million per year.

Interesting to know that as much as 450,000 tonnes of steel was used for reinforcement and another 33,000 tonnes of steel was required for the T3 structure; that’s the approximate weight of 850 Airbus A380s!

A Guide to Airports in Dubai

The terminals are easy to locate from all major roads, mostly due to the fact that the roads are well marked. Terminals 1 and 3 are in the same driving direction. Terminal 2 is located close to the cargo operations, behind the airport.


Airport authorities and plane spotting enthusiasts have cautioned residents against taking photographs of aircraft in the UAE without permission.

Taking photos in restricted areas across the Emirates such as embassies, palaces, airports, security facilities can all result in jail time or large fines.

Where to find the Lost & Found office at Dubai Terminal 3

Did you lose something at the airport or on a plane travelling through Dubai?

Finding the Lost and Found office at T3 is quite easy - simply head for arrivals on the ground floor, walk toward the far right near to where the arrivals taxi queue starts, follow the outside of the terminal to the right and you will see a sign for lost and found, follow it round to the left through some double doors and along a long corridor before you will see lost and found on the left-hand side.

They are really helpful and are open 24hours - just remember to claim any lost items within one month because anything unclaimed gets handed to the police and disposed of if not claimed within the month.

A Guide to Airports in Dubai

Al Maktoum International Airport | Dubai World Central (DWC)

Phase 1 of the Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport is completed and fully operational. The international airport currently has the capacity to handle 600,000 tonnes per annum and operates 24 hours a day on an A380-compatible, 4.5 km runway.

Facilities include 64 aircraft stands (10 of which are Code F), a state-of-the-art ATC Tower, fire stations, line maintenance services, a fuel farm and a 66,000 square meter, single-level passenger terminal.

A Guide to Airports in Dubai

Arriving in Dubai

The Airport Road (D89) leads directly into Dubai’s city centre, a 10-minute drive. Bus stations are located opposite both terminals. These buses serve all parts of Dubai, and depart every 10 minutes between 6 am and 10 pm. A taxi stand outside the arrivals hall is open 24 hours a day, and limousine service is available as well.

Car-hailing services such as Uber, Careem, and Hala are also a popular pick among residents, citizens, and visitors arriving in Dubai.

Dubai International is served by the Dubai Metro, which will operate two stations through the airport. The Red Line (Dubai Metro) has a station at Terminal 3, and another station is currently being constructed at Terminal 1.

Tips for Flying

To help make your flight a comfortable and less stressful experience, here are some tips to consider:

  • Remember to pack all liquids over 100ml into your checked in baggage as items that are greater than this amount will get confiscated and you will not get them back.
  • Charge all electronic devices so that you will be able to use them at the airport without being stuck next to a plug point. Bring your charger as most aircrafts are equipped with plug points with each seat.
  • Make sure that you get to the airport with enough time to wait in a queue, check in luggage and go through security and do a little duty free shopping as well.
A Guide to Airports in Dubai
  • Always pack your own luggage; it is a security requirement of most airlines.
  • Keep your passport and boarding card in an accessible place so that you will wiz by the security points without having to dig through your bag each time.
  • Once you have passed the check points purchase a bottle of water. This way you will get your bottle refilled by the cabin crew and it will act as a reminder to stay hydrated throughout the flight.
  • Take regular walks in the cabin, or at least stretch your feet in your seat and do some light leg exercises to ensure blood circulation.